We used to hear that becoming energy independent was impossible because it would take us 10 years to do so. Today the USA is energy independent because we not only set out to do so but were fortunate to discover and utilize fracking. Fracking has been a Godsend to our country and possibly the world. You are dead set against it but praise renewables that have made very little difference in reducing carbon emissions. In your own words you claim that solutions don't have to be perfect but the least crappy one. Here is an article from Slate that is 8 years old. I searched using the words fracking, reduction and carbon emissions. I quit perusing the different articles after 3 pages but chose one from a notoriously liberal source.
It is my understanding that we here import much of our lumber. I could imagine a government/private industry partnership that would allow logging on federal/state lands along with simultaneously cleaning, thinning our forests and creating fire breaks. Returning to paper bags instead of disposable plastic bags might be a solution for some of the deadfall along with standing timber. We need to daily bitchslap faux environmentalists that protest against trimming tree branches around electrical lines while whole communities burn down.
Our energy independence, along with our ability to export energy products places us in a position to dictate outcomes around the world. The Middle East has given us trouble and blackmailed us for decades because they had the oil. Russia, clearly not our friend, relies on oil and natural gas for their main income. We can use our energy independence to shape outcomes around the world. While many may dislike hearing this and I don't find it a perfect solution to the world's problems I see it as the "least crappy one".
As far as California goes it is an overpopulated irrigated desert without enough water to support its residents. Their efforts would be better spent looking for solutions such as desalination plants rather than bullet trains. The problem though is that they have given away their ability to actually make bold decisions because of their deep seated government pension deficits. They are the perfect example of failed liberal policies.